When was the last time you took some time to look after yourself? As a busy executive, you might think that looking after yourself is a bit of luxury especially if self-care means a spa day or a weekend break
Self-care is much more than that. It is not just taking a hot bath and going to a spa once in a blue moon nor is it longing for that holiday. When you are in a senior position it can be hard to clock-off and take time out, especially if you in charge of a team or run your business solo and you are wondering how you will earn enough for you to take that time away!
However, learning self-care is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your business. Self-care is how you look after yourself on a day-to-day basis to maintain your health and well-being.
Stress is one of the top causes of ill-health and in a recent survey 74% of people reported feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Other studies have shown that one of the top issues for people who run their own businesses is stress and unfortunately ladies, stress affects women 50% more than it affects men.
A little bit of stress is useful - it can help you hit that deadline when time is running out, but it must be managed. Constant stress takes its toll on your body as well as your mental health. Symptoms such as headaches, backaches, low energy or just a general feeling of being unwell can be signs of stress. Overtime this can lead to Chronic Stress and if left unresolved chronic stress can lead to burnout.
Burnout is very different from chronic stress and the numbers of people experiencing burnout are growing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) burnout is now “syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”. With burnout, symptoms are not feeling like you want to do anything, the thing that you loved no longer appeals to you any more, you simply have no energy - it’s a feeling of ‘you’re done’.
Now I’ve experienced chronic stress and burnout and my patterns of behaviour were simply to have a weekend away and then I’ll go back to doing exactly what I’d done before and then wonder why a few months later I got that feeling again!
When I started working for myself, I was doing the same thing I did on my management roles, working very long days and thinking I had to keep pushing myself using the same behaviours. I was completely depleted and kept going on to the point my body said it had enough and I developed fibromyalgia.
I wasn’t changing my behaviours and I wasn’t looking after me. Once I had worked on my behaviours, I created a self-care plan to maintain my well-being.
Creating a self-care plan enables you to combat stress, develop physical and mental well-being and build resilience. There are clinical studies that show the effect of having a self-care plan on your well-being and they show that by consistently engaging in these practices you can change your health. If you are already experiencing stress it helps you manage it and stop it getting worse. If you are already burnout, it is a way to ease you out of that place and develop healthy habits and behaviours.
What is a self-care plan?
It is a plan that enables you to address certain areas of your life and create positive interactions in those areas. These are
- Your workplace and your professional life or your business
- The physical or your body
- The psychological
- The emotional and
- The spiritual
In each of these areas, you look at how you can create more positive experiences. For example, you could look at your work environment - if you work from home, do you have a dedicated place to work? Is it arranged how you would like it to be? Or thinking about the physical, are you getting enough exercise? What can you do to start to make changes to what you eat and drink?
Whilst the self-care plan is about you it is also about how you interact with others and how you give to others, that can also help you feel good.
The idea is not to massively overhaul your life in a way that is not sustainable, it is about making small changes that you do on a regular basis which enable you to be happy and healthy and thriving. It is just one of the pillars of success that I teach my clients.
If you would like to know how to create a self-care plan or work on changing behaviours habits and beliefs, please get in touch and arrange a call.